Resource 2: Force games

Teacher resource for planning or adapting to use with pupils

The standing one-hand boot throw

A competitor stands outside in the open with both feet on an agreed line with a large size boot, which they proceed to throw as far as possible, without moving their feet.

  • What is the best way to measure/compare distances?
  • Is this a push or a pull?
  • Discuss other examples, like throwing a 1. 5 m stick or heavy stone. Explain that these are like sports activities such as javelin throwing and shot put.

Wrist wrestling rules

Opponents face each other on opposite sides of a desk with left hands on laps. Their right elbows are on the table in front of them in line with the opponent’s elbow (elbows should not move). They grasp hands and at the instruction ‘PUSH!’ each tries to push the back of their opponent’s hand onto the table to score a point. First to three is the winner who then accepts further challenges. (A variation is to alternate hands.)

This is a good example of balanced forces, but as one weakens, the more powerful force results in a movement.

Blow football

Blow football is played on a large empty table with a ping-pong (table-tennis) ball and two or three players per team. The ball can only be moved by air blown through straws.

A goal is scored when the ball is blown over the far end of the table. A game lasts five minutes each way. If the ball goes off at the side, the opposite team has a free blow-in from the place where the ball left the table. If the ball is touched by a player or a straw, the opponents get a penalty blow and all other straws must be at least two straw lengths away.

This is an example of pushes on the ball from the air.


Two opponents stand sideways, foot to foot. They hook little fingers together. At the command pull, they both try to pull the other off balance. The first person to move or lift a foot is the loser.

All these games show the effects of forces clearly and give pupils a good chance to experience and think more carefully about how forces operate. Many other possible push and pull games exist and new ones are waiting to be invented.

Resource 1: Finding forces in pictures

Resource 3: Force word spiders or burrs